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Jump Start New Year’s Resolutions with Natural Weight-Loss Foods

Many of us start the New Year with a few resolutions to exercise more, eat better and live a healthier lifestyle. In addition to that gym membership you just renewed, try making a few changes to your grocery list next week. Research shows there are plenty of delicious, easy to find foods that can help you fight hunger, stop the sugar cravings and boost your metabolism.

Lean Beef

If you are trying to lose some extra pounds, lean beef is the way to go. The amino acid leucine, which is abundant in proteins like meat and fish as well as in dairy products, can help you slim down while maintaining calorie-burning muscle. It also takes more energy for your body to digest the protein in meat than it does for it to digest carbohydrates or fat. The more protein you eat, the harder your body has to work to digest it and the more calories you burn in the process.

When researchers at Arizona State University compared the benefits of a high-protein diet with those of a high-carbohydrate diet, they found that people who ate a high-protein diet burned more than twice as many calories in the hours following their meal as those eating carbs.


This Middle Eastern staple is a cereal grain that is as inexpensive source of low-fat protein, making it a wonderfully nutritious addition to your low-calorie meal plan.

High in fiber and protein, and low in fat and calories, bulgur is great food that offers bulk and nutrients to fill you up without adding pounds, perfect for weight-loss dieters. One cup of bulgur has fewer calories, less fat, and more than twice the fiber of brown rice. In addition, bulgur has more fiber than oats, buckwheat, or corn. Bulgur is also high in protein and in minerals which means it is an ideal foundation for meals, allowing you to skip higher-fat protein sources, like most meats.

With a quick cooking time and a mild flavor, bulgur is ideal for those new to whole grain cooking. Try one of these delicious bulgur recipes tonight.


Skip the donuts and bagels in the morning. Eggs are full of nutrients and protein which will help you feel fuller longer and also give you the energy needed to start the day right. Research has shown that protein may also prevent spikes in blood sugar, which can lead to food cravings.

Dried Plums

So you knew they were making the list, but dried plums are perfect for weight-loss dieters. The soluble fiber in prunes helps you feel fuller longer and they make for a great snack. Dried plums are also packed with antioxidants, vitamin A, potassium and folic acid. Folic acid is necessary for metabolism regulation and also helps protect against heart disease and stroke. These nutrients are essential for someone on a low calorie meal plan and the insoluble fiber they contain can help maintain regularity.


Beans contain cholecystokinin, a digestive hormone that acts as a natural appetite suppressant. Beans are also a good source of fiber, protein and iron. To get the maximum benefit of beans, always opt for fresh or dried beans instead of canned beans. Tinned beans contain high amounts of sodium and other preservatives which can be harmful for your health.


Control that calorie intake by starting meals with a large salad (but hold the creamy dressing). It’s simple, eating a salad will make you feel too full to pig out on other foods. In addition, a study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that people who ate one salad a day with dressing had higher levels of vitamins C and E, folic acid, lycopene, and carotenoids (all of which help fight diseases), than those who didn’t add salad to their daily menu.

Green Tea

Sure the caffeine is good, but it’s the antioxidants in green tea called catechins which help speed metabolism and fat burning. In a recent Japanese study, 35 men who drank a bottle of oolong tea mixed with green tea catechins lost weight, boosted their metabolism, and had a significant drop in their body mass index. The participants also lowered their (bad) LDL cholesterol.

Olive Oil

Fight off middle-age pounds with extra virgin olive oil. A monounsaturated fat, it’ll help you burn calories. In an Australian study, 12 postmenopausal women (ages 57 to 73) were given a breakfast cereal dressed either with a mixture of cream and skim milk or half an ounce of olive oil and skim milk. The women who ate the oil-laced muesli boosted their metabolism. Don’t want to add olive oil to your oatmeal? That’s OK-it works just as well in salad dressings, as a bread dip, or for sautéing.


A recent study of 91 obese people conducted at the Nutrition and Metabolic Research Center at Scripps Clinic found that eating half a grapefruit before each meal or drinking a serving of the juice three times a day helped people drop more than three pounds over 12 weeks. The fruit’s phytochemicals reduce insulin levels, a process that may force your body to convert calories into energy rather than flab. It also contains pectin which acts as an appetite suppressant. As an added bonus the high amounts of vitamin C which help boost energy and help keep your hair, skin and nails healthy.


Sprinkle it on microwave oatmeal, add it to coffee instead of sugar and cream, or spread it on whole-grain toast to help cure those mid-afternoon sugar slumps. Research has shown that a little cinnamon can help control post-meal insulin spikes, which make you feel hungry. A recent USDA study showed that just a quarter teaspoon of cinnamon a day lowered the blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

Hot Peppers

Jalapenos, habaneros, cayennes, red pepper flakes and other hot peppers contain a compound called capsaicin, which helps in boosting the metabolism rate of the body, thereby increasing the amount of fat burned. It also helps in the reduction of cholesterol by breaking up unhealthy fat cells.


Fatty fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and tuna contain large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are good for health as they reduce triglyceride levels and also lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases. They also inhibit the production of leptin hormone, which slows down the metabolism of the body. This helps in burning body fat. Don’t like fish, no problem. Fish-oil supplements may work just as well as the real deal.



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